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Ad hoc
panel on public interventions
for French overseas territories development
(Article R. 143-11 of the Financial Courts Code)
Financial year 2021
Pursuant to the provisions of Articles L. 143-1 and L. 143-0-2 of the Financial Courts
Code, the Court shall make public its observations and recommendations, following an
adversarial procedure which allows representatives of the audited bodies and administrations,
the authorities directly concerned, in particular if they exercise guardianship, and those who
may be implicated to make their analysis known.
Premature disclosure by any person of these observations, which remain confidential
until the adversarial procedure is completed, would undermine the proper information of
citizens by the Court. It also exposes to judicial action the perpetrator of any disclosure the
content of which would implicate legal or natural persons or infringe a secret protected by law.
French Polynesia has developed policies relating to the fisheries and mineral
resources of the EEZ, according to a sectoral strategy
1.1.1 External pressures on fisheries resources threaten the development of French
Polynesia’s fisheries sector
1.1.2 While the strategic positions of the states are asserting, the deep seabed of
French Polynesia is not yet the subject of a common strategy
In order to overcome these sectoral approaches, French Polynesia has
designed an original management framework, the managed marine area, still
under construction.
1.2.1 The managed marine area created by the CPF to avoid splitting the EEZ
requires an appropriate management plan
1.2.2 Thus strengthened, the French Polynesia MMA could participate in the
implementation of the international objectives for the ocean
Resources committed to the EEZ must be commensurate with local
ambitions and national commitments
2.1.1 State financial support and technical partnership remain indispensable for
economic activity and research in French Polynesia
2.1.2 While operational means are effective, they remain limited
The recognition of French Polynesia and France in the Pacific will be all the
stronger as coordination for the EEZ will be organised and functional
2.2.1 The action of the Joint Maritime Commission, which is essential, is not
sufficient to compensate for the lack of EEZ-wide strategy and planning
2.2.2 Despite the fragmentation of the institutional space in the Pacific, the State
should further accompany the diplomatic commitment of French Polynesia, in
the logic of the development of an indopacific strategy
The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of French Polynesia is a national asset, whose
French local authorities, viz the community of French Polynesia (CPF), have been seeking both
development and protection for 25 years. It is a biological and mineral resource of global
interest with particular ecosystems and the world’s largest marine mammal sanctuary.
Defined by international law, this space comprised between the 12 and 200 nautical
miles from the coast represents an area of 4 541 204 km², around 118 islands divided into five
archipelagos with approximately 280,000 inhabitants.
The management of this EEZ aims to ensure its exploration, exploitation and protection,
which mobilises many public actions under either the State or the CPF, and most often jointly.
The CPF has considerable room for manoeuvre in this space, its status recognising since
1996 a
general competence in the exploration, exploitation and protection of the area’s
resources, without, however, imposing the obligation of a strategic and planned approach.
Within this original institutional framework, the State remains responsible for surveillance,
defence and, together with the CPF, the international representation of the Territory. The State
also provides technical assistance to the Polynesian administration through its national
administrations and several of its scientific operators.
Over the past decade, the CPF has diversified its development policy thanks to the ocean
and has been implementing sectoral fisheries strategies in the EEZ, in particular
the offshore
fishery representing two-thirds of local fishing resources
while pursuing a policy of research
and knowledge of underwater mineral resources. In both areas, however, the EEZ faces external
pressures, which threaten the Polynesian development model of offshore fishing and its
progressive method of seabed exploration. With regard to the seabed, it is the responsibility of
the State to implement at local level the national strategy agreed at the beginning of 2021 and
to formalise a partnership with the CPF.
The creation in 2018 by the CPF of a marine managed area (MMA), called
Tainui Atea
is a local adaptation of the concept of marine protected area (MPA), recognised nationally and
internationally. By allowing fishing under certain conditions, the Polynesian authorities aim to
respond to the need for a better articulation of the exploitation and protection of the EEZ.
However, even though the two concepts need to be reconciled, the MMA project has still not
been implemented, more than three years after its creation, and it is impossible to measure its
results to date. The success of this local initiative, accompanied by the French Biodiversity
Office, is crucial for France to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans agreed
by the United Nations in September 2015 under the 2030 Agenda.
In order to better articulate areas of expertise and actors, coordination structures have
recently developed, such as a local maritime
in 2014 and a Joint Maritime Commission
in 2020. Closer involvement of civil society and municipalities would strengthen its action.
Corollary, and always locally, an inter-ministerial and planned approach should be
sought within the CPF. This would allow an overall approach to the management of its EEZ
which is currently lacking.
The protection of this coveted area for its resources, which is now effectively ensured,
in particular through the action of the national armed forces, depends on sufficient resources,
pending new capabilities. It calls without delay for better coordination of the intervention of
national and local, public and private actors.
In order to enhance and defend the EEZ, the CPF has entered the diplomatic field, as its
status gives it competence. But it remains dependent on state support. The French diplomacy,
which is trying to develop in the region the national indopacific strategy adopted in spring 2018,
is active but its action has little impact due in particular to a too small presence in regional
technical bodies, which should be compensated by a better combined approach of the two
French public actors.
Recommandation n°
1 (SG Sea) Implement in 2022 through an agreement with the
CPF the partnership for submarine funds based on the strategy adopted by the Cimer
interministerial committee of January 2021.
Recommandation n°
2 (DGOM, DGALN, CPF) Coordinate the implementation of the
2021-2023 seabed exploration programme between the State and the CPF.
Recommandation n°
3 (SG Ministry of ecological transition, CPF) Consolidate the
management plan for the managed marine area (methodology, perimeter, governance).
Recommandation n°
4 (SG Ministry of ecological transition, CPF) Determine, within
the French Polynesia EEZ, protected areas allowing the fulfilment of national and
international commitments to implement the Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Recommandation n°
communication between the Polynesian offshore fleet, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre
and the armed forces to better protect the EEZ.
Recommandation n°
6 (CPF) Strengthen the coordination of the departments of the
various CPF ministries dealing with EEZ issues.
Recommandation n°
7 (CPF) Consult more actively with local civil organizations
involved in projects for the protection and development of the Polynesian maritime
Recommandation n°
8 (SG Sea, Ministry of the Sea, CPF) Adopt a strategic integrated
maritime policy document for French Polynesia.
Recommandation n°
9 (SG Sea, CPF) Check the adequate articulation between the
strategies of the CPF and the national sectoral strategies (submarine funds, biodiversity,
Recommandation n°
10 (SG Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs) Ensure a proper
coordination between the diplomatic actions of the State and of the CPF in order to reach
a more active French participation in regional and international scientific bodies.
Adopted on 10 December 1982 and entered into force in 1984, to put an end to the
uncertainties in customary law and to enable the newly independent States to defend their
interests, the Montego Bay International Convention is now the normative reference for the law
of the sea. It defines and delimits in particular the different maritime areas and their respective
legal regimes.
Among them, the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a sea or ocean strip located
between territorial and international waters, over which a riparian state has rights, including
those to explore and exploit. However, states do not have full sovereignty over this zone: unlike
the territorial sea, they must take into account the freedoms of the high seas, such as the
freedoms to sail there peacefully or to lay pipelines and submarine cables.
Schéma n° 1 :
Delimitation of the EEZ and contiguous areas
Source: FNSP, SciencesPo Paris
Cartography workshop, 2018
Given its land tenure, France has been recognised as the largest EEZ in the world, after
the U.S. and by far the most diverse EEZ. 97% of the national EEZ is located overseas.
French Polynesia is a territory of 279,332 inhabitants, composed of five archipelagos
comprising 118 islands. With an area of 5.5 million km², the contiguous EEZ accounts for half
of the national EEZ
and is one of the largest in the Pacific
Schéma n° 2 :
Delimitation of the exclusive economic zone of French Polynesia
ource: Government of French Polynesia, “marine resources”, 2018
The fishing sector, along with those of pearl, nautical tourism and maritime transport,
are the main pillars of the blue economy. A factor in the rebalancing of activity and income to
the archipelagos, the latter also plays a central role in the planning of Polynesian territory.
Without being confused, the EEZ plays a fundamental role in the “blue economy”, providing
40% of its own resources and contributing 76% of its exports
Managing the EEZ is first exploring the seabed to get to know it better. It is also
exploiting it, which is a fundamental development axis for French Polynesia. It also involves
protecting the many fragile ocean ecosystems. Managing the EEZ is at last defending it and
regulating external interventions, on the international level, since this space is coveted for its
wealth and suffers the consequences of maritime activities carried out within its limits but also
The lagoons are five times larger than the French Polynesia lands and the oceanic territory 1500 times larger. By
comparison, the EEZ of mainland France with Corsica represents only half of its land area.
By comparison, Japan has only an EEZ of 1.3 million km².
High Commission, territorial file of French Polynesia.
The management of the EEZ also contributes to meet Sustainable Development Goal
(SDG) 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably exploit oceans, seas and marine resources
This international commitment, adopted by France in 2015 as part of the UN
2030 Agenda
, is
a reference for action, both for the State and for the French Polynesia Collective (CPF). It
translates into the adoption of various measures aimed at exploiting the ocean in accordance
with international standards, such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
At the institutional level, the management of the EEZ falls within a field of competences
shared between the State and the CPF, strongly marked by the autonomy of French Polynesia.
Thus, since the adoption of the 1996 Statute, the management of that area has been a principled
competence of French Polynesia. Article 47 of the country’s statutory law provides that the
CPF regulates and exercises the right to exploration and exploitation of biological and non-
biological natural resources, including the soil, subsoil and overlying waters of the territorial
sea, as well as the EEZ, in compliance with international commitments. The CPF is thus
competent for fisheries, aquaculture, environmental protection, mining and, more generally, the
exploitation of marine biological resources.
In this particular institutional framework, the State has room for manoeuvre inherent in
its responsibilities for strategic raw materials, diplomacy and defence, but also of the bulk of
the operational resources mobilised for the benefit of the CPF.
This area of expertise provides the framework for the deployment of complex public
policies, some of which have a strong impact on economic actors and on the population for
which the ocean is a foundation of its identity. Managing the EEZ also involves civil society in
the broad sense, since, while for economic actors, the ocean is a fundamental resource space, it
is also a foundation for the identity of Polynesians.
The economic and financial crisis experienced by French Polynesia in 2009,
exacerbated since 2020 by the effects of the health crisis on international tourism, has led it to
pay even more attention to the development of the ocean. The CPF has initiated several sectoral
policies, while ensuring the environmental fragility of this space and the need to protect it. The
State has strongly supported it in this dynamic, without the desired link between exploitation
and protection being fully realised.
The French Polynesia EEZ, compared to its neighbours in the South Pacific, remains a
preserved and reasonably managed area, making it even more attractive. This situation, due to
its immensity, reinforces its fragility, stirring up lusts, particularly of fishermen who are alien
to destructive practices. Its protection, or even its defence, must be kept at a level of priority
and constantly, in all their dimensions and by mobilising all operational, organisational and
diplomatic resources.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the 17 targets set by UN Member States in the 2030 Agenda
adopted by the UN in September 2015. The 169 targets are common to all committed countries. The 2030 Agenda
is the subject of an international follow-up process. In this way, States report annually on their progress.
Implemented at the level of each state, the implementation of the SDGs calls for the active engagement of
governments as well as all stakeholders (businesses, communities, associations, researchers, etc.).
France has actively contributed to the negotiation of the
2030 Agenda
for Sustainable
Development, which it supported the adoption in September 2015 by the United Nations.
Among the 17 objectives, SDG 14 calls for the preservation of the seas and oceans, the
elimination of pollution (plastics, hydrocarbons, underwater noise, persistent organic
pollutants, etc.) and the restoration of fish stocks by and for sustainable fishing. To achieve this,
France has set itself three objectives:
a more sustainable management of resources through the preservation of 10% of
marine and coastal areas through a proactive policy of creating and managing marine protected
areas (MPAs) in all its waters, metropolitan and ultramarine, as well as the fight against
overfishing and illegal fishing;
accelerating scientific research and technology transfer to strengthen ecosystem
resilience and minimise ocean acidification;
the design of sustainable management of marine resources as an opportunity for
economic and tourism development.
The French institute for statistics, INSEE, monitors, for France, the indicators of
achievement of these objectives. As regards the French Polynesia EEZ, they pertain to
state of progress of an ecosystem approach” (
shores for which a strategic document exists) and
the share of French marine waters under MPAs status
The challenges of
Agenda 2030
require a realistic state of play, followed by rigorous
monitoring of progress, identifying areas for improvement, creating momentum for ownership
of the SDGs by all stakeholders, and fostering a context of cooperation.
French Polynesia has developed policies relating to the fisheries and
mineral resources of the EEZ, according to a sectoral strategy
While the sea is ubiquitous in French Polynesia, the maritime resource is paradoxically
weakly valued and relatively little known. It is only since the 2000s that several operating
policies have been deployed and continue to consolidate.
The CPF, which is fully competent in the field of exploitation of ocean resources,
intends to value these resources in order to move towards a new development model less
focused on international tourism, vulnerable, as demonstrated by the global pandemic of
With 23.6 % in 2019, the target of 20 % by 2020 is already reached, thanks in particular to the two huge MPAs
of the Coral Sea (New Caledonia) and Clipperton. It is now 32% for 2030. According to the Ministry of the Sea,
in June 2021, the MPAs already covered 30 % of the French EEZ alone in June 2021.
COVID-19, which divided by three the tourist traffic of the territory between 2019 and 2020
In this context, it gradually introduces actions to deepen knowledge and management of the
marine environment, without clearly developing and articulated public policies.
The blue economy in French Polynesia in figures
The economic weight of the “blue economy” activities
, which includes that of the EEZ,
remains relatively low in view of the potential of this sector. In 2019, it represented a reported
turnover of EUR 422.4 million (50.4 billion XFP
), representing approximately 5.3% of the
turnover of Polynesian companies and a volume of exported goods (mainly pearl) valued at
EUR 58.7 million (XPF 7 billion) while tourism in that year accounted for EUR 591.6 million
(XPF 70.6 billion) of external revenues from the territory (of which EUR 123.2 million [14.7
billion XPF] related to the cruise sector). The sector accounts for 4,000 salaried jobs, or about
6% of French Polynesia’s wage employment
External pressures on fisheries resources threaten the development of French
Polynesia’s fisheries sector
French Polynesia has chosen a policy to preserve its fisheries resource, while these
territories are very close to the Pacific
tuna belt
, which lies at the northern edge of the EEZ.
These waters are rich in tuna, a highly valued product of high added value in the Asian markets
of South Korea and Japan
With these fishy waters and potential financial revenues in the granting of fishing
licences, French Polynesia today does not allow any foreign-flagged vessel to fish in territorial
Beyond the EEZ, the high oceans are under the joint management of Regional Fisheries
Management Organisations (RFMOs), with the participation of the State and the CPF.
In French Polynesia, the fishing industry is the territory’s th
ird own resource
, with
offshore fishing providing two-thirds of production.
Tourist attendance in French Polynesia increased from 237,000 in 2019 to 77,000 in 2020. Source: IEOM-
Polynesia Agency
Annual summary n°330
April 2021.
According to EIOM, the blue economy encompasses all economic activities related to the oceans, seas and coasts
and the support activities necessary for its operation. Because of their diversity and interlinkage in the various
economic sectors, some sea-related activities are difficult to isolate and measure («
Agence de la Polynesie
française »
Note n°198
August 2016).
One euro is equal to 119,332 Pacific francs (XPF).
June 2021, which counts under the « blue economy » the areas relating to maritime transport, port
transport, shipbuilding and ship repair, maritime construction, fisheries, processing and trade, aquaculture and
pearl farming.
The average consumption of seafood per year per person is around 58 kg in South Korea and 45 kg in Japan
(33 kg in France) according to FAO.
Article 1
of Decision No 97-32 of the French Polynesia Assembly of 20 February 1997 on the exploitation of
the living resources of the territorial sea and the EEZ off the coast of French Polynesia.
The first is tourism, the second is the pearl.
Polynesian offshore fishing is particularly respectful of the resource and the
environment. The Polynesian EEZ has been reserved for local fishing vessels since 1996 and
no fishing licences have been issued to foreign vessels. Only longline fishing (line with hooks)
is used by Polynesian tuna vessels, unlike foreign seiners operating outside the area. In order to
control the exploitation, the Polynesian government issued only seven licences out of a quota
of twelve, in the last call for proposals for licensing until 2022.
Over the past five years, production has remained stable at around 6,000 tonnes per year,
an estimated value at the first sale of EUR 25.1 million (3 billion XPF) and an export value of
EUR 14.2 million (XPF 1.7 billion) in 2019
, or 23% of the volume of longline fisheries.
According to the objectives set by the CPF, in the context of the adoption of the sectoral
policy for offshore fisheries for the years 2018-2022, this sector, due to the expansion of its
69 longliners in service in 2019 and 17 new projects under procurement programmes
benefiting from metropolitan and local tax measures
will have to contribute to the economic
development of the territory, aiming in particular at the economic balance of the sector by
increasing the export markets for tuna. The objective of the CPF and stakeholders in the sector
is a volume of 12 000 tonnes. Since it is commonly accepted that the local Polynesian market
absorbs 4 000 tonnes of fish caught, the balance of production is necessarily export-oriented,
directed at 95% to the United States.
In the context of the RFMO guidelines, which call for a reduction in tuna fishing, the
French Polynesia’s approach to gradually
increasing its production may appear contradictory.
However, this objective of production growth is part of a roadmap considered virtuous by the
players in the territory. The development of offshore fisheries is indeed identified as an
important challenge for the sustainable creation of wealth and jobs and the food security of the
population. Identifying the level of development of the fishing industry without affecting the
resource sustainably is essential for French Polynesia.
Among the main measures for the implementation of the 2018-2022 plan, the
sustainability of the “MSC
Sustainable Fishing” label for Polynesian fisheries obtained in
2018 for a period of five years for white and yellowfin tuna is necessary to increase the
attractiveness and visibility of Polynesian fishery products on international markets.
The development of the sector must also be based on sufficient numbers of seafarers
with qualifications in accordance with regulatory constraints and adapted to the new modes of
operation of ships, which is not yet the case. The Territory needs to establish training
organisations to meet these new needs. As such, the CPF must provide the «
Centre des métiers
de la mer de la Polynesie française
» (CMMPF) with the means adapted to the development of
its activities, with a new location in the commune of Arue
In 2020, fish exports were largely interrupted by the health crisis (suspension of international air service for
several months and low demand from US customers).
An international non-profit organisation established in 1997, the
Marine Stewardship Council
(MSC) brings
together international seafood scientists and experts and works to preserve marine species and ecosystems.
70 masters, 175 new sailors and 150 seamen in continuous training should be trained to ensure the development
of the offshore fishery (Source:
Presentation report on the sectoral policy for offshore fisheries
adopted by the
CPF in 2018).
See Territorial Chamber of Accounts of French Polynesia,
The French Polynesia Sea Trade Centre
, June 2021.
The progress of the offshore fishery also requires a complete redevelopment of the
fishing port of Papeete, planned under a master plan and expected for 2028, in a logic of
efficiency and eco-responsibility, for an estimated amount of EUR 31 million (3.7 billion XPF),
financed entirely by the CPF. A major uncertainty remains as to the scope of the space dedicated
to the program, which requires a final arbitration by the CPF even though the delegated
contracting agreement has been signed
. For the time being, the project is suspended.
The legal framework for the sector must be completed. Regulatory measures are
foreseen for 2022, such as
numerus clausus
on fleet entries, fishing areas reserved for inshore
fishing and EEZ exit authorisations for Polynesian longliners
Polynesian catches represent only a small share of Pacific Ocean catches : 0.2% of total
catches of tuna, 3.1% of catches of albacore tuna, 0.4% of catches of bigeye tuna and 0.1% of
catches of yellowfin tuna.
Placed partly on the
Tuna Belt
, the French Polynesia EEZ is attractive. Many foreign
fisheries, mainly Asian, come to fish nearby as shown in the map below. The distribution of the
nationalities of foreign fishing vessels monitored in 2020 by the armed forces of French
Polynesia (FAPF) is as follows: 43% Taiwanese vessels, 33% Chinese vessels, 9% South
Korean vessels and 5% vanuatian vessels.
Carte n° 1 :
Location of foreign ships in the vicinity of the French Polynesia EEZ
Source: MMA Seminar of French Polynesia, 22 May 2018
Since 2000, the average annual tuna catch tonnage of 429,249 tonnes in the South-East
Pacific has been increasing over the past 20 years. In 2019, volumes reached 530 940 tonnes.
A delegated contracting agreement with the EPIC Grands Projets de Polynésie (No 4397/MAE/DRM of 21 July
Action plan established under the MMA.
IATTC states in its 2020 resolution that the spawning stock biomass of bluefin tuna is
close to its lowest point and that the stock is overfished, despite a 40% reduction in catches
since 2012. The Commission
“calls on all its members involved in this fish
ery to participate in
a fair and equitable manner, and without exception, in the adoption of conservation measures
for the stock throughout its range”
. Major powers such as Australia and Japan have been
involved in the effort to reduce tuna fishing. On the contrary, Indonesia and China increased
fishing volumes, and Taiwan maintained a high level of harvest. Pacific Island States and
Territories have, in 10 years, increased the volume of catches, with the exception of Kiribati:
+ 918% in the Cook Islands, + 670% for Vanuatu. French Polynesia maintains a stable volume
of between 6,000 and 7,000 tonnes per year but aims to double in time.
Tableau n° 1 :
20-year trend in the volumes of tuna caught by state in the South Pacific
Catches in
2019 (tonnes)
Share of total
catches in 2019
Catches in
2000 (tonnes)
between 2000
and 2019
397 102
74.8 %
278 842
306 749
+ 42 %
35 873
6.7 %
2 063
18 419
+ 1638 %
16 174
3.0 %
16 780
16 679
4 %
Solomon Islands
11 331
2.1 %
3 924
8 698
+ 188 %
French Polynesia
7 674
1.4 %
6 968
6 812
+ 10 %
4 621
0.9 %
7 855
+ 670 %
4 359
0.8 %
9 750
5 373
55 %
0.7 %
5 637
61 %
3 825
0.7 %
6 179
7 347
38 %
Cook Islands
3 411
0.6 %
2 650
+ 918 %
Source: French Court of Account
s, according to WCPCF data (open data, organisation’s website)
A number of states, particularly with low resources, and whose boundaries of the EEZs
border those of French Polynesia, issue fishing licences which constitute a source of funding
Vanuatu is expected to exit the UN list of least developed countries for 2021, as well as Tuvalu
and Solomon Islands. Fishing activities are also points of entry for diplomatic counterparts.
If French Polynesia’s efforts
to regulate tuna fishing in its territorial waters are not
shared beyond the EEZ, they will have been in vain, as the resource is currently at a critical
According to fishing licences, the volumes caught are allocated to either of the Contracting States.
While the strategic positions of the states are asserting, the deep seabed of
French Polynesia is not yet the subject of a common strategy
Knowledge of the deep seabed has been engaged for more than 20 years. As early as
2001, a collegial expertise, the “ZEPOLYF2 campaign”, prepared an inventory of the resources
of the French Polynesia EEZ, followe
d by a “preliminary strategic and prospective assessment
of the underwater polymetallic crusts of the French Polynesia EEZ” carried out by the French
Institute for Research for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) and the Bureau of Geological
and Mining Research (BGMR)
. In 2012, a synthesis study conducted by Creocean on behalf
of the CPF analysed the mining potential of the deep seas
. In 2014, this research dynamic
continued with the mobilisation by the CPF of the Institute for Research for Development (IRD)
to establish a state of play of knowledge on the potential of deep mineral resources in the EEZ
This research has confirmed the presence of polymetallic nodule potential in the
northwest of the EEZ near the Cook Islands. Research has mainly identified promising resource
potential for cobalt-rich crusts. These remain more accessible than nodules: they are located
between 800 and 4,000 metres on seamounts south of the Society Islands and near the Tuamotu
. The substrate on which the crusts are based, particularly in the Tuamotu
archipelago, also has a potential for phosphate resources.
These studies recommend deepening the resource points identified through targeted
exploration campaigns, conducted jointly with the State and integrating an objective of
knowledge of the surrounding ecosystems, which would be built very slowly and fragile. The
technological and technical issues of exploration must be adapted to the context (robots
allowing the crusts to be taken off and grinding them).
Beyond these resource and environmental focused approaches are highlighted the
anthropological consequences of the exploitation of the offshore seabed. For island populations,
the latter are not empty, unknown and unsuitable spaces. These spaces are known, named, used
and integrated into the local representations of the land-sea continuum of Polynesians ; they
participate in their identity.
The CPF, on the basis of the studies carried out, plans farms likely to intervene in 15 to
20 years. In May 2019, a study was commissioned by the CPF to the French company Abyssa,
a specialised subsidiary of SA
Creocean, to develop a strategy for exploration of mineral
resources, particularly cobalt-rich crusts. This resulted in the establishment of a research and
development programme in September 2020, estimated at EUR 11.36 million HT,
1.36 Md XPF HT. The first phase was to start at the end of 2021. A meeting between the
government of the CPF and the heads of the Aby
ssa company in August 2021 highlighted “
lack of response on the return on investment for the benefit of French Polynesia and the failure
to take into account the reports of Polynesians to the ocean
”. In addition to the lack of visibility
on the future of investment, the CPF also wants the biological environment to be taken into
IFREMER-BRGM, January 2002.
Global prospective study of activities related to the exploration and exploitation of deep ocean
mineral resources in French Polynesia
, Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Mines, Energy and Mines
Service, November 2011.
Deep Mineral Resources in French Polynesia
, College Expertise, 2016
This ore is now in high demand, with no medium-term substitution prospects, which reinforces its price level.
SA Creocean is a former subsidiary of Ifremer.
account when exploring the seabed and stresses the importance of the symbolic and political
aspects of the ocean.
For its part, Abyssa is preparing to intervene by creating a Polynesian subsidiary,
Abyssa Polynesia, and by launching a call for funds in June 2021 for its financing. The creation
of this company responds to the CPF’s desire to be involved in compani
es likely to intervene
on this subject and to master the knowledge acquired.
This shows that in 2021 French Polynesia was committed to a regional strategy.
However, the latter seems to be conducted without explicit reference to a national strategy.
The National Strategy for Deep Seabed Mining and Exploration
took a long time to
involve French Polynesia.
The State has implemented a national strategy for deep seabed mining and exploration,
approved by the Interministerial Committee of the Sea (Cimer)
in October 2015. The Cimer
of January 2021 decided to give it a new ambition and adopted five guidelines, the fourth
which, already in 2015, had not been implemented:
1. long-term exploration of deep seabeds, in order to increase knowledge of natural ecosystems and
underwater mineral resources, mobilising the national scientific community;
2. amplify efforts to protect the seabed as part of an ecosystem conservation strategy, articulated with the
National Protected Areas
3. valuing deep seabed resources in relation to French and European industrial potential;
4. Establish an integrated and partnership approach with overseas communities as well as with our
European and international partners;
5. Communicate and inform people and decision makers about the potential of the deep ocean while
raising awareness about its sustainable use.
It appears that the State has not fully realised the CPF’s ability to conduct its own seabed
knowledge policy. This apparent inaction surprises the challenges and the abandonment of the
research undertaken in the Wallis-et-Futuna EEZ in 2014 and 2015
Indeed, the stakes of knowledge remain important since
“84% of our minerals are in
our oceans, formidable research reservoirs, raw materials for which we need to organise both
knowledge and extraction in a way compatible with other activities, with research and the
preservation of biodiversity
In the context of the rise in power of certain states (Norway, United States...) in the field
of the deep seabed, where strategic positi
ons are asserting, France’s position, which has
undeniable assets, is weakened, according to the report on the national strategy for the
Created by Decree No. 78-815 of 2 August 1978, the Cimer is presided over by the Prime Minister and brings
together the ministers responsible “
in the field of the sea under its various national and international aspects and
to lay down the guidelines for governmental action in all areas of maritime activity, in particular with regard to
the use of space, the protection of the environment, the development of the resources of the sea, its soil and its
The State’s experience in Wallis and Futuna between 2010 and 2014 in carrying out an assessment of the
potential of mineral resources in the EEZ had to be abandoned as a result of a strong rejection response from the
local authorities; it highlights the importance of taking into account local populations and their representatives.
Speech of the French President of the Republic on 3 December 2019 at the Assises de l’économie de la mer in
Montpellier (France).
exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the deep seabed
submitted to the
Secretary General for the Sea (SG Sea)
in July 2020, by the absence of an overall project for
the ocean and the deep seas.
Now, the action plan resulting from the report presented to the Interministerial commitee
of the sea (Cimer)
of 22 January 2021 foresees “strengthening the partnership with overseas
communities, particularly in the Pacific”. Thus, according to DGOM, "
a consultation with
French Polynesia and the other territories concerned will be organised in order to build a joint
State/territory expertise project. The prospective programme committed between the State and
Polynesia will continue over the period 2021-2023 with the establishment on the EEZ of a
demonstrator site of international vocation (medium of exploration)
Following the presentation by the President of the Republic in October 2021 of a
specific objective in the framework of the France 2030 project
and the
National Strategy for
the Deep Seabed
, it appears necessary to undertake a rapprochement between the CPF and the
State, in order to articulate the strategies of both.
Recommandation n° 1.
(SG Sea): Implement in 2022 through an agreement with the
CPF the partnership for submarine funds based on the strategy adopted by the Sea
interministerial committee of January 2021.
The historical concept of
strategic raw materials
is a key element in the division of
powers between the State and French Polynesia in the field of underwater mining because, if
mineral resources from the seabed were to be classified as such, the exploitation competence
would fall within the competence of the State and not the CPF.
This concept is defined by regulations of the late 1950s, and these raw materials are then
identified as those necessary for atomic energy: helium, uranium, thorium, beryllium, lithium
and their compounds. These references are now considered by scientists to be inadequate and
need to be updated. This need for
should be met in the context of the draft recast
of the national mining code, still under construction since 2011, but suspended in 2021 on this
specific point.
The country’s statutory law does not provide any indication as to how the residual
jurisdiction of the State is linked to that of principle of French Polynesia and does not specify
to what extent the former condition the latter. There is no indication as to whether the scope of
‘strategic raw materials’ can be easily and permanently circumscribed and to what extent the
State could contribute to making that concept more effective.
National Strategy for the Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Deep Seabed
, January
Created by Decree No. 95-1232 of 22 November 1995, in
particular to “facilitate and coordinate the work of
the Government on maritime policy
Objective 11
Investing in the deep seabed
The 2016 collegiate expertise led by the IRD
and the report
to the SG Sea of July
2020 on the National Strategy for the Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the
Deep Seabed raises this limit. The latter report suggests, inter alia, the idea that, in return for
the full competence of French Polynesia with regard to these minerals, their allocation could be
primarily oriented towards the French economy.
Recommandation n° 2.
(DGOM, DGALN, CPF) Coordinate the implementation of the
2021-2023 seabed exploration programme between the State and the CPF.
In order to overcome these sectoral approaches, French Polynesia has
designed an original management framework, the managed marine
area, still under construction.
In accordance with its status, French Polynesia is sovereign in terms of the environment
and the creation of protected areas.
It has a range of regulatory tools, applicable to coastal areas,
which have created the
Fakarava Biosphere Reserve, classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, 40 regulated
fishing zones located in particular in the Leeward Islands (46%) and Tuamotu (44%) to deal
with the risks of overexploitation of lagoons, and the Moorea Maritime Spatial Management
Plan (MMP) to prevent conflicts of use between the different occupants of the lagoon
(fisherman, hotelier, tourism service provider, environmental protection association).
Beyond the territorial sea, French Polynesia has undertaken to build a comprehensive,
pragmatic protection policy, which, however, is slow to materialise.
The managed marine area created by the CPF to avoid splitting the EEZ
requires an appropriate management plan
On 6 June 2017, on the occasion of the UN conference on SDG 14 on the protection of
the oceans, the President of the CPF presented the Marine Managed Area (MMA) project for
the entire EEZ of French Polynesia. Different from the nationally and internationally recognised
concept of Marine Protected Area (MPA), the concept is based on a maritime area that remains
open to Polynesian fishing, while ensuring its protection.
P-Y.Le Meur,
P.Cochonat, C.David
et al
Deep Mineral Resources in French Polynesia
; A.Troianiello and
The division of competences between the State and French Polynesia with regard to deep marine mineral
, IRD editions, 2016.
National Strategy for the Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Deep Seabed
, Cimer, January
A survey of the 51 protected areas was carried out in partnership with the local branch of the French office for
biodiversity, as part of the implementation of the
National Protected Areas Strategy 2020-2030
(SNAP) adopted
in January 2021. Maps will be available in 2022 within the toolbox that accompanies SNAP for its implementation.
Previously, in the archipelago of the Southern Islands, far from Tahiti, the municipalities
of Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae and Rimatara had expressed the wish, by deliberation voted in
2014, to create a large marine reserve in the “Austral EEZ”. The Am
erican NGO Pew
Charitable Trust, very active in the French Pacific territories, led the diagnosis of the cultural
and natural heritage of the Austral. The final version of the scientific diagnosis conducted by
the Criobe-IRPC
was presented in June 2015. The report of the participatory approach
conducted on the spot was made public in April 2016.
On that same date, the CPF publicly rejected the Southern Islands project
locking in. Polynesians cannot be denied access to the economic zone of our country. We will
start with the Australes, then it will be the Marquises, the Tuamotu, and we can no longer fish
anywhere as our fishing fleet participates in development and
employment. Rurutu City Council
therefore cancelled, in early April 2016, the deliberation adopted in June 2014 in favour of the
GPA, where all fishing was to be prohibited, with the exception of a 20-mile coastal area.
Shortly thereafter, in 2016, a feasibility study was conducted with the objective of
creating an MPA in the Marquises Islands, covering an area of 700 000 km². This project was
carried out, at the request of the CPF, with the technical support of the Marine Protected Areas
. He also remained in the state of intent.
Over these areas with high stakes, the CPF favours centralised management, the only
modality that seems to enable it to preserve the unity of a maritime space remote from Tahiti
and with multiple environmental characteristics. As a result, the community announced
2016 to divest itself from the MPA project in the Australes, its marine area project managed
throughout the EEZ, including adjacent waters, seabed and subsoil.
The French Polynesia’s bias is to promote the preservation of the environment
integrating man and his activities, precaution and forecasting, in a context of strong evolution
of the marine environment in the face of climate change.
An optimisation study of this MMA was commissioned in 2016
and a decree of the
Council of Ministers of April 2018
classified the EEZ as an MMA, called
Tainui Atea
, on the
basis of the Polynesian Environmental Code of French Polynesia (category VI
The decree sets out the management guidelines and governance arrangements. The
Management Board, composed exclusively of the institutional or state members, shall propose
the management plan and shall annually draw up its action programme and the annual
assessment of the actions taken. It is also responsible for monitoring, evaluating and revising
the management plan. Thus, the management plan, approved in April 202041 for three years,
Island Research Centre and Environmental Observatory
Pacific Coral Reef Institute.
The draft MPA was to be presented to the Council of Ministers before being submitted for opinion to the
Commission des Sites et des Monuments Nature (CSMN) and then to the elected representatives of the French
Polynesian Assembly.
Since January 2020 French Office for Biodiversity (OFB).
This project was confirmed at the Pacific Ocean Summit in Hawaii on 1
september 2016.
Diazabakana, A., Binet, T., Rochette J., Polynesian EEZ-wide Marine Optimisation
Study. Recommendations
and Guidelines
, September 2016.
Order 507 CM of 3 April 2018.
Art. LP 2111-2.
Protected natural areas are classified into six categories according to their management
objectives, including VI for managed marine or terrestrial areas: protected area managed primarily for the
sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems
Order 4247 MCE of 6 April 2020.
takes over the actions undertaken by the government for 15 years. It consists of four main issues,
thirteen objectives and 33 main measures.
The first issue is fisheries. The aim is to support the development of French Polynesia’s
fishing potential by avoiding overfishing. The second issue, related to marine megafauna, is to
reduce threats. The third issue seeks to bring Pacific states and territories together around good
ocean management to better protect it and defend its interests in international negotiations.
Finally, the fourth challenge aims to increase communication, awareness-raising and education
efforts so that information flows better and that everyone can become an actor of change.
The plan is accompanied by twelve regulatory measures to be introduced between 2020
and 2025, including the development of fisheries areas reserved for inshore fishing, the
protection of coral reefs, the designation of the Marquises Islands as a World Heritage Site by
Unesco and the designation of the Southern Islands as a biosphere reserve.
According to the services of the CPF, many actions of the management plan could not
be carried out due to the coronavirus pandemic, which limited activities and travel. The
Management Committee of the MMA has also not met since 2020.
Above all, after three years of creation, the MMA is still under construction, without
concrete action implemented, nor a strategic plan defined, quantified and arbitrated by the
Management Committee. This observation reveals a strong hesitation of the CPF as to the
direction to be taken for this area and shows that the original scheme chosen by the CPF is
insufficiently mature. A partnership agreement of January 2020 between the French office for
biodiveristy and French Polynesia initiated a process to revise and consolidate the management
plan that remains pending.
Indeed, “inconsistencies” had been identified by the OFB as regards the methodology,
scope and governance of the MMA:
the management plan is defined for a period of three years, without a specific methodology.
This period is estimated to be too short to set long-term and measurable operational
objectives for the conservation of marine ecosystems;
the perimeter of the MMA covers that of the EEZ of French Polynesia, which excludes the
territorial sea, inland waters and terrestrial environments. However, management
measures, outside the scope of the MMA, are explicitly referred to in the plan;
the management board of the MMA could call on any service, body or personality deemed
useful to assist with the decision, set up working groups and a forum for consultation and/or
Moreover, the MMA, as adopted, is a non-splitable entity. However, the Polynesian
Government plans to delineate strong protection areas, for example, seamounts, which are
atypical and singular ecosystems
. This zoning would be the subject of reflections in
consultation with all the actors of the MMA, enabling a mapping
of vocations
to be drawn up.
There is considerable scientific evidence that seamounts, which according to current bathymetric data are 509
in the EEZ, are of interest from a fisheries resource perspective as they attract some of the pelagic fauna that
remains there for breeding, feeding.
Thus strengthened, the French Polynesia MMA could participate in the
implementation of the international objectives for the ocean
Standards for the designation of a marine space as a Marine Protected Area have been
established internationally. Their compliance depends on their inclusion in the
World Database
on Protected Area (WDPA
) database
. The National Environmental Code recognises different
categories of
MPAs, most of which reconcile protection issues with the sustainable
development of activities.
However, the MMA of French Polynesia deviates from the definition of the MPA in
several respects. In particular, its current management plan may appear primarily as a planning
tool for the development of Polynesian offshore fisheries for primary resource use purposes.
However, it is the primary objective of habitat and species conservation that needs to be
At the international level, motion 066 adopted by IUCN
on guidelines for identifying
industrial fishing incompatible with protected areas defines "
industrial fishing
"that carried
out by motorised vessels (> 12 m x 6 m wide), with a capacity of >50 kg of catch/travel,
requiring large sums of money for their construction, maintenance and operation, and mainly
sold commercially
"fishing using trawl devices dragged or towed along the seabed or water
column, and fishing using purse seines and large longlines, may be defined as industrial
As it stands, this definition is incompatible with the Polynesian Government’s
objectives for offshore fishing in which longliners are involved, the majority of which are more
than 16 metres in length
At the same time, the CPF is supporting two international projects with Unesco: the
Austral Biosphere Reserve Project and the Marquises Islands World Heritage Project. The
association of these two projects with that of the MMA is not envisaged in the management
plan for the area, even though they are inseparable. The OFB is engaged with the CPF to
develop the management plan for the Marquises Islands, which could bring the two projects
closer together.
On the occasion of the World Conservation Congress in Marseille in September 2021,
French Polynesia announced its intention to bring together regulatory tools for the protection
and sustainable management of Polynesian spaces and species within the same text, in order to
bring a more coherent articulation. This draft recast of Polynesian regulatory standards is linked
to the coastal zoning project around the archipelagos, excluding professional longline fishing,
as practised today in the MMA space, and reserving inshore fishing for local populations. The
This database is a reference developed by, inter alia, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) Nature Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCM).
Article L.334-1 of the Environmental Code relating to MPAs states, inter alia, in its July 2019 wording:
10° The
MPAs created under the environmental codes of French Polynesia, the provinces of New Caledonia and Wallis-
IUCN is a non-governmental organisation classifying animals and plants according to extinction hazard criteria
and specifies threatened species.
Source Ministry of Armed Forces: in 2019, 69 vessels were fishing offshore, of which 26 were less than 16 m
in length, 14 with a length of between 16 and 20 m and 29 between 20 m and 24 m.
community wishes to organise workspaces, while limiting the impact of activities on the
French Polynesia has not yet opted to pursue the
application for international
recognition with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/WDPA) as an entire area
or only part of it, which would allow certain areas to be reserved for conservation and others
for fishing or exploitation of mineral resources.
As a minimum
, the management plan will be
improved and the governance of the MMA expanded without international recognition. Thus,
French Polynesia could indirectly, and at its own pace, participate in the commitments, not only
national but international, to implement SDG 14.
Recommandation n° 3.
(SG MTE, CPF): Consolidate the management plan of the
Managed Marine Area (methodology, perimeter, governance).
Recommandation n° 4.
(SG Ministry of ecological transition, CPF): Determine, within
the French Polynesia EEZ, protected areas allowing the fulfilment of national and
international commitments to implement the Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The threats to the resources of the French Polynesia EEZ are both international,
environmental and economic, with increasing pressure being exerted by its residents as well as
by a local population dependent on the sea. The compromise sought by the CPF between
absolute protection of the entire EEZ and the development of this area, translated by the
classification into MMA, inclines to a centralised conception of management and governance
by the community and aims to reconcile the objectives of protection, conservation, exploitation
and development of the resources of the EEZ. However, the MMA, which could be a tool
structuring the sectoral policies needed to achieve this, still does not form the basis for an
integrated approach, due in particular to a shift from national and international frameworks and
to a still fragmented implementation.
Resources committed to the EEZ must be commensurate with local
ambitions and national commitments
Whatever the division of competences in this field, the management of the EEZ involves
the mobilisation of financial resources and know-how, which are not always available locally.
This management also involves a series of tasks ranging from the production of rules to their
implementation and control. While observers such as the Territorial Chamber of Accounts
the General Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development have recently
highlighted the progress of the CPR in terms of management culture, developments are still
needed to allow the interaction between horizontal policies deployed
those of the Country
and cross-cutting approaches
common to the country and the state
to be taken into
State financial support and technical partnership remain indispensable for
economic activity and research in French Polynesia
The budgetary and technical resources of French Polynesia are limited, despite its
economic wealth and the resulting fiscal potential. The State, pursuant to Law No 2017-256 of
28 February 2017 on substantive equality overseas (EROM) supports the economy of the
territory. In 2020, State expenditure in French Polynesia, amounting to EUR 1.68 billion
(compared to EUR 1.56 billion in 2019), represented more than a third of Polynesian GDP. The
State and the CPF concluded a third development and transformation contract 2021-2023 in
March 2021, complemented by a territorial recovery agreement
These contracts represent a
total amount of EUR 24.2 million (XPF 2.89 billion) for the period 2012-2023
Economically, the fisheries sector is particularly supported by the CPF through various
direct and indirect financial aids. The mobilisation of these mechanisms by actors in the sector
has increased since the overall reform of the regime in 2017. For the financial year 2019, the
aid received by the sector is grouped together in the table below, since aid to offshore fisheries
could not be separated from aid for inshore fishing.
See for example
, Territorial Chamber of Accounts,
French Polynesia Collectivity, Human Resources
July 2020 and
French Polynesia Collective, Environmental Policy,
October 2017.
48Since the closure of the Pacific Experimentation Centre (CEP), the CPF has received special financial support
from the State. The latter, initially temporary, has been repeatedly renewed. It has now been sanctuarised since
2020 within a global autonomy allocation (DGA) of EUR 90.5 million (10.8 billion XPF) financed by a revenue
levy that guarantees its evolution.
Table No 2 : Overall view of the aid received by the fisheries sector in 2019
Source: CTC based on data provided by the community.
The CPF’s support for offshore fisheries requires a system of dual national and local tax
, which would allow more than 60% of the eligible investment to be supported, depending
on the sectors
. These schemes benefit investors (polynesian or metropolitan) or directly to
shipowners, for the purchase of fishing vessels (whether or not built in a Polynesian shipyard)
or for investments in storage and packaging necessary for the sector. Between 2017
2019 14 companies were granted local tax clearance in connection with the construction
or maintenance of offshore fishing vessels. The cumulative amount of approved projects
amounts to almost EUR 27.65 million (3.3 billion XPF) for a total amount of tax credits and
tax exemptions of EUR 13.83 million (XPF 1.65 billion).
According to the High Commission of French Polynesia, national challenges are an
indispensable tool for strengthening the Polynesian economic fabric and related jobs, especially
in the context of the post-Covid-19 economic recovery, while no lasting state support for the
private sector is implemented in the Pacific overseas communities and European aid deployed
in the overseas departments is not accessible in overseas communities. In this context, the
Structural investment projects carried out in French Polynesia may, under certain conditions and until 2025
benefit from the Polynesian tax relief scheme (Articles LP 911-1 to 941-14
Title 1 of Part 3 of the French
Polynesia Tax Code and more specifically Article LP. 923-1, primary sector, high seas professional fishing) and
of the ‘industrial Girardin’ metropolitan tax scheme (Articles 199j
B and
199j C and 217j
General Tax Code).
75% of 40% of Polynesian tax credits + 66% of 50% of metropolitan tax reduction, which must then be deducted
from file costs.
No approval was granted in 2015 and 2016.
2019 - En € & (MF CFP)
Pêche Hauturière
Pêche Côtière
Pêche Lagonaire
Aides à l'export :
879 913 €
(105 MF CFP)
Aides pour études et expertises :
Nombre d'acteurs
par filière
69 Unités
& 17 594 milliers d'Hameçons
340 Poti marara & 33 Bonitiers
117 DCP ancrés
35 machines à glaces & 11 chambres froides
849 cartes CAPL
670 : activité unique &
179 : pluri activité
6 601 t
2 292 t
4 300 t (estimé)
dont 3 400 t de poissons lagonaires
16 760 245 €
(2 Milliards de F CFP)
estimation DRM
Aides à la pêche lagonaire :
1 474 902 €
176 MF CFP)
Défiscalisation nationale :
84 806 838 €
(10,120 Milliards de F CFP)
estimation CTC sur la base de la valeur moyenne du kg de poisson à l'export 2019
soit 9,5 € (1.138 F CFP) le kg
Aides indirectes
3 963 798 €
(473 MF CFP)
47 767 €
(5, 7 MF CFP)
Exonérations douanières :
4 709 629 €
(562 MF CFP)
Aides aux cotisations sociales :
343 585 €
41 MF CFP)
Aides à l'investissement :
821 252 €
(98 MF CFP)
Aides à la glace :
97 209 €
11,6 MF CFP)
Aides en matière de sécurité :
173 468 €
20,7 MF CFP)
Aides directes
Défiscalisation locale :
1 684 405 €
201 MF CFP)
assessment, currently under way, of the financial sustainability of the aid seems essential to
ensure that, over a multiannual period, the CFP will be able to finance all these schemes, and
in particular local challenges in the field of offshore fisheries. Professionals engage in multi-
year longline acquisition programmes.
The technical partnership between the State and the CPF, initiated since 1977, translates
into development and transformation contracts. The last of these concerns the period 2021-2023
and consists of 53 assistance and financial participation agreements between the State, its
operators and French Polynesia. Forty of them provide financial support from the State or its
operators, while the others relate solely to training or technical assistance. The management of
the EEZ is a partnership axis specifically identified in one of these environmental assistance
agreements, the project of which is being negotiated with the Ministry of Ecological Transition
Many national operators are also involved in French Polynesia to support its
development and to provide the local authorities with the necessary technical assistance on
oceans: the Institute for Research for Development (IRD), the French Institute for Research for
the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), the French Development Agency (AFD), the
University of French Polynesia (UPF) or the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). Most of
these operators have been present and active in French Polynesia for several decades, which
reinforces their legitimacy. They have the dual task of meeting local needs as expressed by the
CPF and contributing to national objectives.
In the field of research, these operators have come together within the Resipol network
(research, higher education and innovation for Polynesia). This consortium meets one of the
main objectives of the CPF’s research policy, which is to support, energise and organise the
research sector to network resources
. In 2021, this consortium produced its first results and
developed projects that respond in many respects to ocean-specific issues.
If the partnerships between the State and the CPF are frequently renewed by tacit
renewal or do not lead to profound changes in content, there is a change with the renewal of the
technical assistance partnership between the MTE and the CPF : the draft convention, expected
to be concluded at the end of 2021, covers a wider spectrum of state support and technical
support for the next 18 years. There is also a dual governance of this partnership, both at the
local level and in central administration, with the appointment of a senior official responsible
for its follow-up.
This shared governance and closer coordination are indeed necessary. For example, the
national action plan for the protection of cetaceans, launched in 2018, excludes ultramarine
territories with environmental competence, including to improve knowledge (axis 1) or to
strengthen international action on the protection of cetaceans (axis 3), whereas, since 13 May
2002, French Polynesia is, by decision of the country, the world’s larg
est sanctuary for marine
mammals and concentrates 16 to 24 species of cetaceans depending on the seasons.
This partnership project, based on the needs identified by each of the parties, clearly
the need
appropriate environmental management solutions
”. From this
Established pursuant to Law No 2013-660 on higher education and research of 22 July 2013, this partnership
established between the University of French Polynesia and all the research organisations present on the
Polynesian site founded a new way of organising State support in this area.
Ultramarine territories with specific environmental competence do not fall within the scope of the action plan
for the protection of cetaceans
perspective, its preamble states that the State-CPF partnership must
“extricate from the vertical
links that have long prevailed between the metropolis and the overseas community, recognising
local realities and avoiding the transposition of metropolitan reality as the model to follow,
giving priority to genuine dialogue in which the interests of both parties are sought, where
reciprocal rights and duties are exercised”.
It is on the basis of this project that the State proposes its support to the CPF for the
preservation and enhancement of the exclusive economic zone at local, national and
international level.
While operational means are effective, they remain limited
The State retains responsibility for monitoring the Polynesian EEZ in order to ensure
respect for French sovereignty and its peaceful use
. His intervention is based on the main
challenges of the action of the State at sea (AEM), which includes 45 missions
in the maritime
. Given the stakes and the surface of this maritime space, the format of the armed forces
in French Polynesia may appear to be modest.
Surveillance takes place from the Joint Operations Centre in Tahiti, co-located with the
Joint Maritime Centre, which includes an International Standards Search and Rescue Centre
(JRCC) where commercial, fishing, recreational vessels are observed and which triggers heavy
rescue at sea. The JRCC benefits from local relays, thanks to the 350 volunteers of the
Polynesian Federation of Assistance for Rescue at Sea, established in 2007 on a joint initiative
of the State and the Polynesian Government.
This navigation monitoring mission is essential to the protection of the area, particularly
in order to prevent major sea events, such as grounding of foreign fishing vessels or damage to
commercial vessels that French Polynesia has experienced in recent years
Since the grounding of the cargo “THORCO Lineage” in 2018, the general surveillance
of maritime navigation conducted by the JRCC of Tahiti has been reorganised and strengthened,
first with the establishment and management of integrated surveillance systems with alert and
alert zones, and alarms (the European Maritime Safety Agency’s IMDatE/SEG system), and
then reinforced in November 2019 by a High Commissioner’s orde
r imposing declaratory
obligations for any vessel transiting territorial waters and moving more than seven miles from
the coast if it carries dangerous goods.
The 2013
White Paper on Defence and National Security
states that "
New Caledonia and the communities of
French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna make France a political and maritime power in the Pacific. It has
significant fisheries and mineral resources. This gives our country access to many regional organisations: South
Pacific Forum, Fisheries Agency, etc. Our sovereignty issues must be defended, as must the security of our citizens
in areas exposed to climatic hazards, particularly through the FRANZ Agreements (France
Zealand). France contributes to the general protection of the populations and resources of the Pacific Ocean
Order of 25 October 2016 establishing State missions at sea in French Polynesia.
French Court of Accounts,
The role of the French Navy in the action of the State at sea
, financial years 2010 to
2017, 2019
and The action of the armed forces overseas
, financial years 2014 to 2017, 2019.
In 2017, ship “Shen Long Yu 21” in Marutea North; in 2018, “THORCO Lineage” vessel in Raroia; in 2020,
ship “Shen Gang Shun 1” in Arutua; in 2021, “Ping Tai Rong 49” ship in Anuanurunga.
Finally, in order to consolidate this accident prevention system in this dangerous
navigation zone, particularly in the archipelagos, the JRCC of Tahiti is carrying out a study,
with the assistance of SHOM, to establish recommended waterways and areas to be avoided. A
first step is to enact them by order of the High Commissioner.
For the CPF, the monitoring and resources allocated to this mission could be stepped up
in order to prevent major risks and have an efficient framework for cooperation and
collaboration in managing the aftermath of these events, sometimes beyond the jurisdiction of
the territory. For example, the CPF wants the threshold for reporting ships carrying dangerous
goods to be lowered from 3,000 to 300 UMS
. The lowering of this threshold would
undoubtedly have an impact on the navigation monitoring missions and the means that should
be allocated to it. In order to protect the coastline and contribute to the development of
navigational surveillance, a dossier prepared jointly by the CPF and the State is under
consideration and will be presented to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the
creation of a “particularly vulnerable maritime
(VMA)”, consistent with the French
Polynesia MMA and the Fakarava Biosphere Reserve.
The fight against pollution, in the event of major events or disasters, falls within the
competence of the State, pursuant to Article 14-6 of the Organic Law. Thus, any foreign vessel
caught in fishing action or in flagrance of voluntary release of polluting products into the EEZ
is intercepted, diverted and prosecuted in a judicial framework
. For example, with regard to
marine pollution, the shipowner of the Chinese ship diverted to Papeete on 12 May 2019 after
a discharge of oil-containing bilge waters was tried and sentenced on 28 January 2020 to a fine
of 35 MXPF (EUR 293,304). Pollution monitoring shall be carried out, under the coordination
of the Maritime Zone Commander, by means of the armed forces and by the JRCC of Tahiti,
which collects, processes and analyses information from ships or aircraft. In the event of
flagrance of voluntary release of polluting products into the EEZ, the vessel may be intercepted
and diverted into a judicial framework. The fight against maritime pollution is partly the
responsibility of the French Navy and partly the CPF, depending on the maritime area
concerned and the
extent or sensitivity of the pollution. The Conseil d’État ruled in this regard
in its judgment of 19 November 2020 on the Arutua longliner case.
Monitoring is particularly effective in fisheries policing. The device combines remote
electronic monitoring by VMS (vessel monitoring system)(
) and AIS (automatic identification
system), satellite images and projection of FAPF air and naval assets in and around the EEZ.
Electronic sensors are used to detect any incursion into the area, but also to verify that any
foreign vessel in transit through the EEZ has a speed corresponding to transit (
between 7
and 12 knots) and not to fishing. Any abnormal or unusual situation leads to the initiation of an
aero-maritime mission. Accounts are requested from foreign fisheries police authorities.
Sanctions may extend to the prohibition of fishing in RFMO areas, the seizure of the vessel and
catches and fines. Finally, regular monitoring missions are carried out throughout the year,
within the EEZ and in its direct vicinity, to show ostensibly to foreign fishing weapons that they
are being monitored, even several thousand kilometres from Tahiti. In 2020, a total of 1,230
International vessel gauge measurement system.
The master and the second of the Chinese longliner stranded at the end of July 2021 in Anuanurunga were placed
under judicial control and will be tried in immediate appearance, prosecuted for marine pollution. In the meantime,
they are banned from leaving the territory (
Tahiti Info
, Thursday 29 July 2021).
All vessels registered in an RFMO, including foreign fishing vessels, are required to transmit a VMS
signal. This signal is continuously monitored from the Common Maritime Centre (CMC-PF).
hours of sea were spent on monitoring fisheries and drug trafficking. 1,701 foreign fishing
vessels were continuously monitored in and around the EEZ (up to 100 nautical miles), of which
28% were in transit through EEZ (technical call in Papeete, crossing from one high sea area to
another). 261 fishing vessels were overflyed in the EEZ and its surroundings
often 1 000 km
or even 2 000 km from Tahiti
or 15% of the vessels monitored.
Graphique n° 1 :
Evolution of the number of vessels monitored and overflyed in the French
Polynesia EEZ and its surroundings
Source: French Court of Accounts according to FAPF, 2020
Following the fifth France-Oceania Summit in July 2021, in line with the indopacific
strategy adopted by the French authorities in spring 2018, the President of the French Republic
announced the creation of a South Pacific Coast Guard network to
r cope with the
predation logics of which we are collectively victims
” and to “
protect maritime spaces
”, which
are “
the first of the wealth
” of the South Pacific States.
In order to strengthen the fisheries control system and improve the action of the State
services and the CPF, French Polynesia adopted a fisheries control plan on
18 February 2020
at the plenary meeting of the State-CPF Joint Maritime Commission. It includes general
objectives (control of reporting obligations, monitoring of satellite fishing vessels and
combating illegal unreported fishing, known as IUU fishing) and specific objectives relating to
the control of territorial waters and landings at berth. The plan previews the participation of
Polynesian ships, distributed throughout the EEZ. An alert sheet is available to Polynesian sea
professionals (transport, fishing) to report any foreign illegal fishing activities. This information
channel remains to be consolidated: the costs of connecting from vessels are extremely high
and, according to the fishermen themselves, there is little mobilisation. In 2020,
two “release
of doubt” operations were conducted by the State on the basis of information transmitted in this
Recommandation n° 5.
communication between the Polynesian offshore fleet, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre
and the armed forces to better protect the EEZ.
Nb navires pêche survolés (ZEE PF et abords)
Nb navires de pêche étrangers suivis par le CMC-PF (ZEE et abords)
No illegal fishing action has been identified within the French Polynesia EEZ itself by
foreign fishing vessels, thanks to this targeted, visible and unpredictable scheme. The
perception of a looted EEZ is maintained on social networks and by foreign interest groups for
the purpose of influencing the Polynesian model of MMA
, despite the state’s regular media
communication activities.
As regards the fight against narcotics, according to the FAPF, illicit trafficking generates
small but constant flows between Latin America and the West Pacific (Australia and New
Zealand), through the EEZ of French Polynesia. In 2020, the fall in air traffic led to the traffic
of methamphetamine (
”) to refer to the seaway (containers). An anti
-narcotics plan
signed between the State and the country on 3 February 2021, although there was no provision
for fighting on the high seas.
France is also the only European state to maintain a permanent military presence in the
Pacific. For these missions, the resources of the French Navy in French Polynesia are scaled as
accurately as possible. According to the 2008
White Paper on Defence and National Security
the Sovereignty Fo
rces have been reduced “
to the level strictly necessary for the missions of the
armed forces themselves
”: 900 military personnel in 2020 compared to 2,000 in 2003
. The
armed forces, 1,200 military and civilian, are stationed on Tahiti Island.
The High Commissioner is the representative of the State at sea throughout the EEZ. Its
responsibilities extend beyond that, as France is responsible for helping people in an area of
12.5 million km². He is assisted by the Admiral, Commander of the Maritime Area (CZM),
responsible for coordinating the action at sea of the administrations and the implementation of
their means : French Navy (including maritime gendarmerie), maritime affairs, national
gendarmerie, customs, border police and civil security.
In 2021, the fleet included the
surveillance frigate, the
patrol vessel, the
support and assistance building, the two tugs
, as well as the
patrol boat of the maritime gendarmerie. Naval aeronautics assets are three
Falcon 200
from the 25F fleet, two
Dauphin N3+
helicopters from the 35F fleet and the
helicopter from Detachment 34F/Prairial. The other administrations (gendarmerie, customs,
maritime affairs) exercising powers at sea have virtually no means (aircraft, vessels), with the
exception of a few light boats for the gendarmerie. The offshore capacity remains reduced,
pending the arrival of the two patrol boats with drone on board of the French Navy, starting
from 2024 for the first and then at the end of 2025 for the second. The extension of the activity
of the patrol vessel
, which has been in service since 1991, limits the temporary reduction
in capacity, which will nevertheless continue until the actual arrival of these two new patrol
boats, which are supposed to double the maritime surveillance capacity.
Ensuring French sovereignty is tantamount to showing the “pavilion” of France through
a visible and regular presence. In June 2019, the Ministry of Armed Forces publicly adopted a
French defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific zone
, which aims to strengthen the action of the
Sovereignty and Presence Forces, actively contribute to the fight against proliferation, work to
strengthen regional institutions and its partnerships, consolidate the strategic autonomy of
South-East Asian partners and contribute to the policy of environmental security anticipation.
This strategy is regularly translated into the participation of FAPF in maritime surveillance
Ministry of Armed Forces.
cooperation operations with neighbouring states, organised by the Pacific Islands Forum
Fisheries Agency.
At the end of June 2021, the Air 190 detachment hosted the Heifara mission, an
exceptional deployment of
e aircraft. According to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, this
training is part of the
plan to deploy as early as 2023 20
20.000 km from France in 48
hours, in order to protect French Polynesia from a foreign incursion. It confirms that tensions
between China and its neighbours (Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan...) are increasingly
palpable on issues of maritime presence, freedom of navigation or fishing and may have an
impact on French Pacific territories.
The recognition of French Polynesia and France in the Pacific will be all
the stronger as coordination for the EEZ will be organised and
The action of the Joint Maritime Commission, which is essential, is not
sufficient to compensate for the lack of EEZ-wide strategy and planning
The respective competences for the ocean space of the CPF, the State, the municipalities
and the autonomous port of Papeete are very interwoven. Thus, the management of waste, water
and sanitation falls within the competence of the municipalities, while the fight against marine
pollution is the responsibility of the State, the CPF or the municipalities, depending on the
maritime area concerned. The applicable rights and their implementation vary according to the
space, which may jeopardise the application of administrative or judicial police measures. In
addition to those distributions of jurisdiction, that right is based on the constitutionality block,
with in particular the Environmental Charter, but also based on certain provisions of the
National Environmental Code, which, in accordance with the principle of legislative speciality,
have been made applicable in French Polynesia
Locally, close cooperation between the State and the CPF is organised within the Joint
Maritime Commission, established in April 2019, following the Polynesian Sea and Coastal
Council of 2010, focusing it on issues that are truly common to the State and the CPF.
This Joint Committee is dedicated to the development of maritime activities, from the
point of view of the safety of users, the protection of the environment and the economic
development of French Polynesia: identification of recommended lanes and particularly
vulnerable sea areas, regulation of fishing, improvement of boating safety. It aims to strengthen
the coordination of public actions at sea, involving all relevant public services, be they the State
or the CPF. It aims to build a shared strategic vision and has met once a half-yearly since its
Press Tahiti
, 4 July 2021.
This applies, for example, to approved environmental protection associations (L. 621-1 and L.141-1); prevention
of pollution from ships (L. 218-1 to L. 218-72, L 218-83 to 86), combating the intensification of the greenhouse
effect and preventing the risks associated with global warming recognised as national priorities (L. 229-1 to L.
inception in February 2020. It is now the most organised space for exchange on the sea and the
activities likely to take place there
Beyond that, while the relationship between the CPF and the central government has
been an important objective
of the National Strategy for the Sea and Oceans
since 2015, its
implementation remains very weak and limited. At the national level, French Polynesia, apart
from defence and security at
sea issues, is not specifically monitored. For example, there is no
geographical or cross-cutting approach to public action by the State and its operators. The
coordination of national services is carried out locally within the framework of the maritime
conference responsible for coordinating the action of the State at sea. But its last meeting dates
back to 2016. A forthcoming meeting took place in December 2021, with the participation of
the Secretary-General for the Sea in videoconference.
The coordination of the services of the CPF takes place mainly at the level of the Council
of Ministers. In the absence of a Service Branch, the consistency of departments’ actions
depends on the circumstances and initiatives of each of the Ministers. However, the
management of marine spaces, by its cross-cutting nature, could evolve favourably with the
implementation of the CM Decree of 17 December 2020 establishing inter-ministerial delegates
and the country law of June 2021
, which includes this function in the list of functional posts
appointed to the Council of Ministers. An interministerial structure of the “action of the CPF at
sea” type could thus fall under the Presidency or vice
-presidency, in order to ensure
transversality and dialogue in the treatment of maritime matters.
Recommandation n° 6.
(CPF): ) Strengthen the coordination of the departments of the
various CPF ministries dealing with EEZ issues.
Civil society, which is diversely involved, should be more and sustainably involved.
The maritime
of French Polynesia (CMPF), association law 1901 created in June
2014, is a driver of the economy of the territory, which brings together and creates synergies
between 64 private and public players in the maritime economy
. The
innovative practices, particularly in emerging sectors (desalination, environmental protection,
offshore wind, marine energy and biotechnology), while investing in the themes that underpin
“blue growth”: skills and competences, infrastructure, management of nautical uses, good
environmental management, spatial planning, safety at sea, economic intelligence, collection
and processing of marine data. The
is perfectly integrated into the game of actors,
This includes the signing of a joint fisheries control plan, the restoration of links between the State and the
French Polynesia Environmental Directorate, the drafting of a practical guide “protected marine areas” and the
joint planning of boating safety operations for the whole of 2020. In 2020 there were plans to consolidate the
regulations on the holding of sharks by foreign armaments and the establishment of recommended passageways
and/or areas to be avoided in the Tuamotu to prevent accidental grounding.
Pursuant to Instruction 265/SG Mer of 22 December 2017 relating to interministerial reports of the action of the
State at sea and the activities of the coast guard function, the High Commissioner reports monthly on his action to
the SG Sea. National topics are relayed to the EMEA Steering Committee on a quarterly basis.
LP No 2021-17 APF of 17 June 2021 amending deliberation No 2016-38 APF of 26 May 2016 as amended, on
public officials in functional posts and on interministerial delegates.
Boating, maritime transport, ship repair, tourism, environment, industry, innovation, fisheries, aquaculture,
perliculture, port development and management, energy, research, safety at sea, services, training and education.
participating in the regional maritime conference, the conferences of the parliaments of the
Pacific Islands, the foundations of the economy of the sea, exchanges with the Directorate-
General for Overseas Affairs (DGOM) and the Government of French Polynesia. The subjects
and questions raised by the
are systematically monitored by the State and CPF services
and responses are usually provided. Eager to accompany the government, he is represented on
the Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Council of French Polynesia (CESEC).
Environmental protection associations are too little consulted. The Federation of
Environmental Protection Associations (FAPE) denounced in 2018 the “(
no) place of
associations in ocean space management
”. Bringing together 30 associations, local and
international, with
a common goal
of “protecting
ecosystems and adapting the way of life
(consumption/production) so that biodiversity, landscapes, quality of life (health), cultural uses
closely linked to nature in Polynesia and natural resources persist for future generations
”, she
stresses the need for rules of exploitation and the creation of open, temporary and long-term
reserves. Above all, while FAPE agreed with the creation by the government of the MMA, the
association regrets the lack of discussion and consultation prior to the vote on the texts and the
absence of
ex post
replies. The government refers as a possible perspective to the closer
involvement of local associations, with the exception of NGOs, in particular in the Maritime
Affairs Committee.
Thus, on the occasion of the work of the EEZ Management Board on 1
2021, its
members wished to set up a civil society consultation body and proposed to include FAPE-Te
Ora Naho, the maritime
, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Services and Trades
of French Polynesia, the «
Syndicat pour la promotion des communes de la Polynésie
» and the CESEC.
Recommandation n° 7.
(CPF): Develop consultation with local associations on projects
for the protection and development of the Polynesian maritime space.
To reconcile multiple uses and modify their effects on marine space, several
international standards recommend a planning approach
. To this end, France adopted a
Strategy for the Sea and Coast
(SNML) in February 2017
, which is now the reference
document for the protection of the environment, the development of marine resources and the
integrated and concerted management of activities related to the sea and the coast. However,
this text does not apply to French Polynesia, which is also not concerned by the planning
documents aimed at promoting the maritime dimension of overseas seas
as well as at
clarifying and supplementing the guidelines of the
National Strategy for the Sea and Coastal
Including the NGO Pew Charitable Trust, already mentioned.
In 2006, the UNESCO Inter-Governmental Oceanographic Commission organised the first workshop on the use
of marine spatial planning as a tool to implement marine management. This interest in planning is also contained
in the two European Union Framework Directives
Marine Strategy
(Directive 2008/56/EC of 17 June 2008) which
aim by 2020 to achieve or maintain good environmental status in marine environments and
Maritime Spatial
(Directive 2014/89/EU of 23 July 2014) which form the basis of the National
Strategy for the Sea and
Coastal Areas
In line with Law No 2016-816 of 20 Jun
e 2016 for the blue economy, which aims to recast France’s maritime
policy and contribute to improving the competitiveness of the companies concerned.
The maritime and coastal areas to which the strategic documents apply are limited to the four Caribbean, South
Indian Ocean, Guyana, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon sea basins.
The lack of a strategic approach also affects the role of Polynesian municipalities. All
of them have a maritime façade and are concerned by the integrated approach to the ocean and
the coast and the environmental impacts of maritime activities on their territory. However, this
lack of planning concerns only the sea, since the general planning scheme (SAGE) provided
for by the Staff Regulations and adopted in 2020 to lay down the medium-term guidelines for
sustainable development, land development and environmental protection, covers only land
areas (Article 49.1). In the foreword of the report presenting this scheme, this limitation is thus
while the sea is the pervasive territory of the Fenua, that in French Polynesia
everything is perceived in terms of continuity and not splitting concerning the sea and islands,
should SAGE not be based on an ambitious and comprehensive maritime development strategy?
Like the SAGE, in view of the many sectoral policies developed on the ocean, the
realisation of a strategic and planning approach to ocean management, promoted by many
international and European directives in metropolitan France, is now necessary.
Recommandation n° 8.
(SG Sea, Ministry of the Sea, CPF): Adopt a strategic integrated
maritime policy document for French Polynesia.
Recommandation n° 9.
(SG Sea, CPF): Check the adequate articulation between the
strategies of the CPF and the national sectoral strategies (submarine funds,
biodiversity, fisheries,
Despite the fragmentation of the institutional space in the Pacific, the State
should further accompany the diplomatic commitment of French Polynesia, in
the logic of the development of an indopacific strategy
Since there is no proper integrated maritime policy in the Pacific, a multitude of recent
international and regional organisations are involved in the maritime field, often on the same
. The special place given to island sovereign states in regional organisations led France,
according to the Ambassador, France’s Permanent Representative to the South Pacific
Commission (SPC) and the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (PROE) from 2014 to
2018, to adopt a “modular diplomacy”. Thus, the statutes and commitments of France and
French Polynesia vary according to the degree of participation of both.
While foreign affairs in the Pacific are clearly within the competence of the State
organic laws have granted French Polynesia certain powers in the field of external relations:
organisation of representations of French Polynesia to any State or territory recognised by
the French Republic or to any international body of which the latter is a member or to any
international body of the Pacific, which has not yet been used;
negotiation in the areas of its competence (art. 39), however, local authorities cannot take
decisions in interna
tional matters contrary to the Republic’s international commitments;
Ecosystem management, adaptation to climate change, sustainable development
In the Pacific, English-speaking territories benefit from
and organise their own external
membership of international organisations in the Pacific (art. 42).
Like the Ocean States, which have essential interests in the maritime field and intend to
defend them, French Polynesia is active in external relations. It intervened, for example, to
adopt a management plan limiting the use of driftfish aggregating devices
by certain tuna
seiners at the limit of the EEZ, with the aim of increasing catches of large pelagic fish.
His geostrategic challenges relate to its recognition and international influence, but also
to the ability to fight against the influence of
. It also maintains a bilateral dialogue
with the Asian powers, which have no statutory place in regional organisations
Presenting France’s indopacific strategy and its objectives in March 2018 in New Delhi,
the Head of State affirmed the need for local and regional authorities to integrate into their
region and confirmed the State’s support for these policies by accompanyi
ng the affirmation of
their competences, by valuing their know-how and their desire to be recognised as international
actors. In July 2021, he confirmed this position by evoking the central position of French
Polynesia on this indopacific axis.
To this end, since 2002 the CPF has had an administration dedicated to external affairs
and the Pacific, directly under the authority of the President of the CPF
. From the perspective
of the Polynesian Government, the Permanent Secretariat for the Pacific, attached to both the
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Overseas Affairs, which is
responsible for coordinating the diplomatic actions of the State and French Polynesia, would
benefit from being relocated to the region, as close as possible to the partners whose cooperation
it is responsible for strengthening. In order to strengthen this coordination action, the creation
of a function of diplomatic adviser to the presidency of French Polynesia is under consideration,
although its arrangements, including financial support, are slow to be clarified.
The possible diversity of the status of membership of regional organisations (member,
observer, partner...) increases the national and Polynesian presence in all these bodies. But it
can undermine the expression and influence of their policies, particularly with regard to the
EEZ. However, as regards external relations, trade between France and the CPF must be
systematic. If the French Republic takes the initiative to negotiate within the remit of French
Polynesia, the President of French Polynesia is associated and attends the negotiations (Article
40 of the Autonomy Act of 2004). The relationship appears asymmetrical to the CPF when it
comes to the sovereign powers of the State. It therefore aspires to more information and
association and, overall, to a more Pacific-oriented France.
France has no so-
called “France
EU” interest in the Pacific, unlike other oceans (ICCAT
in the Atlantic, IOTC in the Indian Ocean) where the metropolitan fleets and overseas
departments and the fishing fleet operating in remote areas represent a large majority of French
interests. Thus, in the Pacific, France’s stakes are those of a coastal state aspiring to protect its
environment and preserve the possibilities of its fleet, in the face of the ever-growing fishing
effort of the so-
called “fishing” states, represented in particular by the Taiwanese and Chinese
Organisation or State using its influence capacities to guide international relations.
Under Article 15 of the Organic Law of 27 February 2004, the President of the CPF has broad geographical
responsibility, facilitating partnerships with China, the United States, Japan and Chile.
Orders No 177 CM of 13 February 2002 and No 865 CM of 27 June 2013.
The lack of synergy between the players makes it difficult to fight against the influence
soft powers
and the ambitions of the great powers of the Pacific. The French scientific bodies
(IRD, Ifremer) are absent from the scientific councils of regional organisations. They cannot
therefore make the voice of French Polynesia heard, especially in order to have the MMA
recognised or to give priority to longline vessels over purse seiners. This lack of synergies
encourages NGOs, researchers and experts to ask for more space in regional institutions.
Recommandation n° 10.
(SG MEAE): Ensure a proper coordination between the
diplomatic actions of the State and of the CPF in order to reach a more active French
participation in regional and international scientific bodies.
The management of the EEZ in MMA raises the question of the financial and human
resources available to the CPF. On the basis of resources on both sides, the State and the CPF
still need to strengthen synergies in order to be able to value the EEZ. The use of armed forces
and diplomacy can contain, but not yet contain, pressures. More coordination between the CPF
and the state as part of a shared strategy would increase efficiency and create room for
manoeuvre in case of increased hazards.
The management of the EEZ is a challenge as this creation of international law is still
slow to become, almost 40 years after its geographical definition and the statement of related
competences, the subject of a full-fledged national public policy. It is a resource, immediate
and future, indispensable for French Polynesia, which extends over a vast area like Europe,
which it seeks to exploit and better know through the deployment of multiple sectoral policies.
It is also an immense reserve of biodiversity with fragile ecosystems, which exploration, and
even more exploitation, can quickly alter, which must therefore be constantly protected and
sometimes defended.
The quality of this management policy contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable
Development Goal 14
Conserving and sustainably exploiting oceans, seas and marine
resources for sustainable development
. The multiplication of educational marine areas, the
recognition of the managed marine area (MMA), the use of the biodiversity fund, the
mobilisation of research operators are already con
tributing to France’s objectives under the UN
2030 Agenda
. The establishment of mechanisms for citizen participation in the communes of
French Polynesia, the inclusion of the SDGs in the management plan of the MMA and in the
agenda of the Joint Maritime Commission, and the structuring of associative action around the
SDGs still need to be developed.
The CPF and the State, each within their sphere of jurisdiction, act together to achieve
this objective. While a pragmatic dynamic is underway in this direction, it remains incomplete
today and does not yet meet the requirements of sustainability, since the exercise of
reconciliation between exploitation and protection is difficult.
In order to meet this objective, several points of deepening and strengthening the current
policies have been identified, both for the State and for the CPF. In order to improve the
management of this national asset, which is also part of the common heritage of humanity, their
implementation is indispensable and must be carried out jointly between the two main actors.
With this in mind, the management of the EEZ would benefit from a formalised strategic
framework and the establishment of a managed marine area for fully effective management,
both to address all the issues and their complexity, but also to raise awareness among the
Polynesian population who is the first beneficiary.
Protection of 32% of marine areas; weaving a network of 500 AMEs by 2022; creation of a specific fund for
overseas biodiversity of EUR 30 million for the Pacific Islands; 100% of French authorities with schemes for
citizen participation, either new or adapted from existing schemes; strengthen mechanisms for citizen participation
at local level.